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Points of Order

Volume 448: debated on Monday 10 July 2006

On a point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker. I seek your advice. Is it still the convention of the House that Members who are called following a ministerial statement should have been present at the commencement of that statement? Many colleagues have been here throughout the statement and have not been called, yet I suspect that one or two—certainly one—were not here at the beginning and yet have been called.

I must remind the hon. Member that that is usual, but it is a matter of discretion. Both the occupant of the Chair, and the Speaker’s Secretary, who assists the occupant of the Chair, do their very best to make sure that the names of everyone who wishes to speak are noted down as quickly as possible.

On a point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker. Last Thursday, I went to a ward advisory committee meeting in Bartley Green, which is part of my constituency, which I am proud to represent. The chair of that advisory committee, a Conservative councillor, John Lines, suspended the meeting as soon as I arrived before I could even say a single word, and refused to resume the meeting unless I left the room. I was therefore prevented from performing my duty as a Member of Parliament, which is to represent my constituents. I seek your advice, Madam Deputy Speaker, on what a Member can do in such circumstances.

I am grateful to the hon. Lady as I understand that she gave Mr. Speaker’s Office notice of the point of order that she intended to raise. The circumstances that she describes are now on the record, but the rules of the House require that any such complaint of privilege should be made to Mr. Speaker in writing, not raised on the Floor of the House. The procedure is set out on page 167 of “Erskine May”, and I advise the hon. Lady to take note of it.